Three Early Works by Howard Sandroff
Three early works by Howard Sandroff. The first work, “Five Aphorisms” is for soprano and small instrumental ensemble, and takes as its text short “bits” of poetry by Kathleen Lombardo. According to the composer the intent of the piece was to create a work “using the sound of the words, rather than their meaning as a point of departure. The text, when sung, isn’t meant to be understood. The words are removed from their meaning and become the material of a vocal instrument that fits into the texture of the ensemble.”
Run time 26 min
The second work “Desert” calls for a male narrator, trombone, and electronics, and was originally created as an electronic environment for dancers. According to the composer, “the work was later expanded to its present form as a solo vehicle for Don Malone. The narration was drawn from a variety of sources, related by their references to the desert. The tape portion of the work is more environmental than thematic, as if it were a sonic backdrop for characters without a story and a drama without a plot.”
The last work, "there is a decided lack of enthusiasm at my end of the leash,” is scored for two pianos and pre-recorded electronic sounds. This work represents Sandroff’s attempt to escape the “sonata trap.” According to the composer the sonata is “a conceptual base that molds the way you approach material: you start with something and vary it and develop it and juxtapose it against itself, in some way to parallel dramatic form, literary form.” In an attempt to break this mold Sandroff first composed a long piece in which the music developed along this classic pattern, and then threw out the middle section and just left the two ends to sit side by side, seemingly unconnected by any internal progression.
Howard Sandroff, was born in Chicago in 1949 and received his earliest musical training on the violin and classical guitar. He later went on to receive the Master of Music with honors in composition, from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. Sandroff’s composition teachers have included Robert Lombardo and Ben Johnston. In addition to composing for traditional instruments, Sandroff has created a number of works using electronic instruments and the computer, and has composed for theater, TV commercials, and film.
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